Harbour News 1 – 21 May 2018

28 arrivals for the period

Whitefish totalled 7,800 boxes from four Scottish trawl landings, four Anglo-Spanish gill net landings and two Anglo-Spanish long liners. The seasonal Rockall haddock fishery has come to an end; the fish are in poor condition having completed their annual spawning.  The Scottish boats have returned to their traditional North Sea grounds and will come back west later in the summer to look for squid and haddock. The Anglo fleet of netters continues to land very good catches of processed monkfish and crab from deepwater grounds west of the Hebrides.  The Anglo liners targeting hake and ling tend to work further south at this time of year as they start to work their way home for their annual refits and holidays.

Shellfish continues to be pretty quiet with a handful of visiting prawn trawlers augmenting the efforts of the local fleet and a single landing from the offshore crabber Our Hazel.

InNon-fishing news,the harbour was visited by cruise ships Hebridean Princess, Viking Sun and Albatros. The Hebridean Princessis a regular summer visitor and lay alongside for 24 hours prior to heading north to Isle Martin.  Viking Sun made her maiden call to the village; 950 guests (mainly American) spent their time in the village enjoying guided walks in the glorious sunshine. Viking cruise lines are mainly associated with river cruising and have only recently ventured into ocean cruising with sixnew ships already at sea and a further twelve on order. Albatrosis a fairly regular visitor and returned with 700 German passengers on-board, the majority of whom were German.  Many of them undertook excursions to Lochinver, Inverewe and Castle Urquhart before returning for a wander around the village.

The Shetland-based fish-farm tankship Gripfisklayover for a couple of weeks awaiting work and the pelagic trawler Altaire called in for crew and equipment prior to heading off on a Marine Scotland mackerel egg survey. The western mackerel stock is assessed triennially by an international fleet of vessels surveying predetermined grids from Shetland to the Bay of Biscay. The results from these surveys are used to estimate relative mackerel stock abundance upon which the annual catch quotas are then based.

Harbour Projects

The harbour has agreed in principal to lease the disused lower floor of the Highland Council owned public toilet building situated at the ferry car park.The process has taken many months to progress and there is still no formal documentation in place despiterepeated correspondence. Ironically the harbour did receive the standing order paperwork for the rent which has yet to be agreed! The property which has lain empty for several years is being converted into a Changing Place and Community Workshop. The concept of a Changing Place facility was brought to the harbour by a group of concerned locals who felt that disabled toilet provision for the village could be improved upon. The Changing Place facility has attracted 50% funding from the Transport Scotland accessibility fund with all remaining costs being met by Ullapool Harbour Trust. This significant investment will enhance the lives of those who cannot use standard accessible toilets. This includes people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, as well as older people.For more information on the Changing Place network check out the following website http://www.changing-places.org

The concept of a Community Workshop was brought to the harbour by the Men’s Shed group who have been looking for a more permanent location. The ground floor space is being converted into a workshop for community use and will be managed by the Men’s Shed management team. Both aspects of the development are almost complete and should be open by the end of June all being well. Fingers crossed the lease agreement with Highland Council is signed off before then or the funding element of the project will be compromised.

The Wee Jetty is another community project being funded largely by the harbour trust with assistance from the European Fisheries Fund and Highland and Islands Enterprise. The work has progressed well and should be completed in the next six weeks – weather and tides permitting.  This has been another protracted and difficult negotiation with Highland Council and as yet the asset has not been transferred (sold) to the harbour despite best efforts. Once again the funding element of the project will be compromised if the formal asset transfer is not completed prior to project completion.

The harbour recently received and immediately appealed the 83% (back-dated) rate revaluation increase proposed by Highland Council for the pier area. Given that the business offering hasn’t changed it is difficult to understand the justification for this level of increase. Perhaps it’s for the increased administration costs brought on by the harbour’s efforts to relieve the council of the costs of rebuilding, maintaining and developing two much needed local assets…….